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George W. Weeks

Full name:
George Warren Weeks, Jr.

1885 - 1953


B western fans may remember George W. Weeks as the producer of the twenty-four Range Busters oaters for Monogram Pictures which were released from 1940 - 1943. He was born March 21, 1885 in Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Michigan to George W. Weeks and Lucy S. Harnden Weeks, and father George was the proprietor of a local market garden as well as a coal and wood yard.

George Jr.'s movie career spanned about forty-five years and his specialty was theater management, movie sales, and film distribution. 1909 issues of Nickelodeon and Moving Picture World trade publications had news of his early years in Detroit:

"Detroit, Mich. - Harry D. Brackett and George W. Weeks have taken over the active management of the Michigan Film and Supply Company, 1106 Union Trust building. Mr. Brackett will be manager, Mr. Weeks representative, while William F. Klatt will remain as president of the company, which controls about half the moving picture theaters of the city and about 40 per cent in the state."

In the early 1910s, Weeks managed several of John Kunsky's Detroit theaters. Then came a stint running the Detroit office of the Universal Film company, and circa 1915, he was appointed manager of the Detroit office of the Metro Film Corporation. In 1917, he went to work for M. H. Hoffman as division manager of the Detroit Foursquare Exchange which distributed to Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Circa 1918, he was appointed as representative for Famous Players-Lasky (Paramount and Artcraft pictures). And soon after, he was General Manager of Famous Players-Lasky Film Service, Ltd., of Canada, with headquarters in Toronto.

More responsibility came his way in the 1920s. Weeks was one of three Division Sales Managers for the Lasky / Paramount organization, and in 1925, he became General Manager of Distribution for Lasky / Paramount. In the late 1920s, Famous Players-Lasky / Paramount and Metro decided to create a specialized group to handle sales and distribution of their shorts and Weeks was selected as boss of that unit.

In 1929, he was vice president and general manager of new independent production company Sono Art, and became Executive Vice President when Sono Art and World Wide Pictures merged later that year.

Ralph M. Like's Action Pictures, Inc. had been around for a few years, churning out low budget adventure, crime and melodramas for the states right market. In early 1932, the company became Mayfair Pictures and Weeks was appointed as President. Guess #1 - the rationale to hire Weeks was his sales / distribution expertise and industry connections, attributes that could generate additional revenue for low rent Mayfair.

Alas, Mayfair continued to struggle and went belly up in 1934 but Weeks wasn't around at the end. Trades indicate he resigned the pres job in July, 1933 due to health issues ... or to start a new company. Guess #2 - the real reason for Week's exit was that he was aware of Mayfair's troubles and decided to seek employment elsewhere.

His next stop was early 1934 when he became general sales manager for Gaumont- British Pictures, and he was with G-B through late 1937. In March, 1938, Weeks began a new job as general sales manager for Monogram Pictures.



(From Old Corral collection)

From left to right are John King, Ray 'Crash' Corrigan and Max Terhune, the heroes in the first sixteen Range Busters. Then came four with King, Terhune and stuntman Dave Sharpe. And the final four starred Corrigan, Terhune and Dennis Moore. Terhune was the only member to appear in all twenty-four.

Corrigan and Terhune were members of Republic's Three Mesquiteers trio series. And singer John King is best remembered as the star of Universal's ACE DRUMMOND serial in 1936.
In early 1940, Weeks resigned that sales job and became an independent producer releasing through Monogram. Plans were for a western series featuring multiple heroes, and scuttlebutt was that Ray 'Crash' Corrigan, a former member of Republic Pictures' Three Mesquiteers trio, was involved in the decision making. In a long ago interview, Corrigan mentioned that he got a cut of the profits ... and we do know that much of the series was filmed at the "Ray Corrigan Ranch" (as well as Iversons, the Monogram town set, etc.).

The new series was initially called "The Two Pals", and Corrigan and John King were the stars. With the addition of Max Terhune, they became "The Three Pals". Thankfully, another name change occurred and the "Range Busters" were born. The July 2, 1940 issue of Motion Picture Daily had news on Weeks' organization and plan:

"Phoenix Productions has been formed with George Weeks as president and Anna Belle Ward as Vice President and associate producer. Weeks formerly was vice-president of Monogram in charge of sales and Miss Ward is assistant general manager of Elliott-Ward Enterprises, theater circuit, at Lexington, Ky. The company plans eight Westerns in a series to be known as 'The Range Busters' for Monogram release."

Twenty-four westerns were released from 1940 - 1943. The first, aptly titled THE RANGE BUSTERS (Monogram, 1940), hit the theaters in Summer, 1940. BULLETS AND SADDLES (Monogram, 1943) was the finale and released in Fall, 1943.

The demise of the Busters wasn't a problem for Monogram. The little studio had hired Johnny Mack Brown in early 1943 and his initial entries were distributed along with the final batch of Range Busters. And Monogram had brought two old timers back to the silver screen - Ken Maynard and Hoot Gibson were their new "Trail Blazers", working for producer and director Robert Emmett 'Bob' Tansey.

After the Busters rode off into Hollywood history, Weeks' career faltered. He connected with Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) for a film or two, but nothing came out of that brief relationship. He later dabbled in 16mm films for the non-theatrical market (educational, religious and home). September, 1952 trade publications had news of Monogram / Allied Artists purchasing the Monogram franchised exchange in Detroit which was owned by George Weeks, William B. Hurlbut and Jack Saxe.

As to family and personal life, Meeks married Alice Zoe Begole (1884 - 1973) in 1905 in Michigan and daughter Dorothea Zoe Weeks was born in 1907. Family trees on Ancestry.com indicate that Dorothy Zoe Mapletoft passed away in 1952 in New Jersey.

Suffering for years from obesity, asthma, and heart problems, George Warren Weeks passed away from a heart attack on November 16, 1953 at his home in Van Nuys, California.

  Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on George W. Weeks: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0917316

Many of the Range Busters adventures are available for viewing or downloading at YouTube and the Internet Archive:
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%22range+busters%22
Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/moviesandfilms?and%5B%5D=%22range+busters%22




(Courtesy of Les Adams)

One of the early sound Mountie flicks was MOUNTED FURY (Sono-Art/World Wide, 1931) and starred John Bowers.  Bowers was a silent screen star, but his career faded with the coming of sound.  Attending a party in 1936, Bowers walked into the Pacific Ocean, committing suicide.  Scuttlebutt is that his death was the inspiration for the fictional (and suicidal) 'Norman Maine' character in the 1937 and 1954 versions of A STAR IS BORN. The producer was George W. Weeks.



(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above is the cover of the pressbook for Range Busters adventure #4, TRAIL OF THE SILVER SPUR (Monogram, 1941), which featured I. Stanford Jolley as the "Jingler". The completed film had a minor title change to THE TRAIL OF THE SILVER SPURS.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is the title lobby card for Range Busters adventure #21, THE LAND OF HUNTED MEN (Monogram, 1943) which was the debut of Dennis Moore as a member of the trio.




(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above are the production and distribution companies for the Range Busters. January, 1941 issues of Boxoffice and Film Daily had articles about Weeks changing the name of his company from Phoenix Productions, Inc. to Range Busters, Inc.




1941 organization chart of Weeks' Range Busters, Inc. company.



1942 organization chart of Monogram Pictures, and the Production Supervisors (producers) included Lindsley Parsons, Ed Finney, Sam Katzman, A. W. Hackel, Bob Tansey and George Weeks. They reported to Vice President of Production Scott R. Dunlap.



Weeks' Range Busters production company was still in business as of 1948 ... but not much was happening.



(Courtesy of Bill Hemmings)

Bill Hemmings' grandfather was Paul Seefeld who hailed from Kewaskum, Wisconsin (North of Milwaukee). Seefeld wound up in the Los Angeles area doing carpentry and remodeling work ... including work at George W. Weeks' later office location at 11315 Ventura Boulevard, North Hollywood, California.



George W. Weeks and family
Family Search (free), California Death Index, death certificate, and trade publications provide more on George W. Weeks and family:

  • Michigan birth index and birth ledger - George Weeks was born March 21, 1885 to George and Lucy Weeks:
    https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F45R-4LR
    https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NQ6D-DYM
  • 1890 census is unavailable - it was lost in a 1921 fire (and water damage) at the Commerce Building in Washington, D.C.
  • 1900 census summary and census takers worksheet - 15 year old George W. Weeks, Jr. is living in Ann Arbor, Michigan with 46 year old father George W. Weeks (born Michigan), 47 year old mother Lucy Weeks (born Ohio), 20 year old son Walter S. Weeks (born Michigan) and 11 year old son Carl H. Weeks (born Michigan): https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M9B5-4KF
  • June 7, 1905 Michigan marriage ledger record of 20 year old Alice Zoe Begole to 21 year old George Warren Weehza [sic] in Chelsea, Washtenaw County, Michigan. His father was George, Sr. and mother was Lucy Hernden. He was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and occupation was "Salesman": https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FCHG-RPJ
  • 1910 census summary and census takers worksheet - 25 year old George W. Weeks (born Michigan), his 25 year old wife Zoe B. Weeks (born Michigan), and 3 year old daughter Dorothea G. Weeks are living in Detroit, Michigan. George's occupation is "Commercial - Traveler": https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MLT2-BSF
  • World War I draft registration dated September 12, 1918 - 33 year old George Warren Weeks was born March 21, 1885. He lives at 1540 Broadway, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Occupation and employer is "Director of Distribution, Famous Players Lasky Corp", and office is in Detroit, Michigan: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-G1ZT-9LHK?i=4432&cc=1968530
  • 1920 census summary and census takers worksheet - owning their home at 1540 Broadway, Ann Arbor, Michigan are 35 year old George Weeks (born Michigan), his 33 year old wife unreadable name (born Michigan), 12 year old daughter Dorothea (born Michigan), 51 year old mother-in-law Dorothy (born Michigan), and a lodger. His occupation is "Manager - Moving Pictures": https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MZ7V-FC6
  • 1930 census summary and census takers worksheet - renting at a hotel/apartment building at 100 West 58th Street, New York City are George Weeks (born Michigan) and wife Z. Begole Weeks (born Michigan). His occupation is "Producer - Motion Pictures", and he was not a World War I veteran: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X42L-17Z
  • 1940 census summary and census takers worksheet - George and wife Zoe are "guests" at the Woodward Hotel, West 55th Street, Manhattan, New York City when the census was taken on April 10, 1940:
    Zoo Be Gole Weeks (born Michigan): https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K7M8-GXH
    55 year old Leo [sic] Weeks (Geo Weeks misspelled), and his occupation is "Sales Manager - Motion Pictures": https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K7M8-GXF
  • World War II draft registration - 57 year old George Warren Weeks was born March 21, 1885 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He lives at 5726 Vesper Avenue, Van Nuys, California and is "Self Employed": https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939V-7L9Q-K6?i=1744&cc=1861144
  • Death certificate - George Warren Weeks was born March 21, 1885 in Michigan to George Warren Weeks and Lucy Harnden. His occupation was "Dist. and Prod. - Motion Pictures" and he was not a military veteran. He passed away November 16, 1953 at his home at 5726 Vesper Avenue, Van Nuys, California and wife Zoe B. Weeks was the death certificate informant. A variety of medical issues are listed including obesity and asthma, but the primary cause of death was congestive heart failure and heart attack. Pierce Brothers Valley was the funeral director and interment at Forest Lawn.
  • California Death Index mirrors the death certificate - George Warren Weeks was born March 21, 1885 in Michigan, mother's maiden name was Harnden, and he passed away November 16, 1953 in the Los Angeles area: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VPDJ-WMP
  • November 18, 1953 issue of Variety had a death notice - excerpt: "George W. Weeks, 68, veteran producer and sales exec, died in Hollywood Nov. 15 of a heart attack after a five-year illness. Last active in 1941-43 as producer of the 'Range Buster' series of westerns, he was previously sales veepee of Monogram." (That November 15 date is incorrect - should be November 16.)
  • November 19, 1953 Van Nuys (California) Valley News paper had a report on Weeks' November 18, 1953 funeral and mentioned that survivors included wife Zoe and brothers Walter S. Weeks and Carl H. Weeks.

Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website - George Warren Weeks (1885-1953) and wife Zoe Begole Weeks (1884-1973) are interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/85544349/george-warren-weeks

Google Books has Past and Present of Washtenaw County Michigan by Samuel W. Beakes (S. J. Clarke Publishing, 1906). It has biographies on notables from Washtenaw County. Info on George Weeks' parents and family is on page 363: https://books.google.com/books?id=JD0XAQAAMAAJ&dq=%22george+w.+weeks%22&source=gbs_navlinks_s


George W. Weeks' wife Zoe Begole and the Begole Family

Thanks to Lael Montgomery, Ph.D. (daughter of Barbara Begole Montgomery) for the following Begole Family history. Lael is a family historian and genealogist who has compiled the history of her mother's family. She is the author of San Diego City Father William Augustus Begole: Story of a Workhorse Pioneer.

According to oft-repeated family mythology, members of the Begole family were among the Huguenots who left France in 1685 when Louis XIVth revoked the Edict of Nantes and the "right" of French Protestants to practice their religion. Although there is a tiny village in the Pyrenees in the south of France named "Begole," and we might speculate that the family took as a surname the name of their village, at this writing neither the family's origins or their route to America have been investigated. They may have fled to Britain or Holland and lived there for several years, as many Huguenots did, before crossing the Atlantic.

In any case, the Begole name - William and John Begole - began to appear in Virginia land records in the mid-1700s; they may have been brothers. A Corporal William Begole was a member of Basil Dorsey's Frederick, Maryland Militia during the American Revolution. Presumably this is the William Rivers Begole who was born in Virginia in 1746, became a farmer in Maryland, married Rachel Starr of Pennsylvania and who moved in 1805 with six of their twelve adult children from their Hagerstown farm to Groveland in the Genesee River Valley, New York.

These five Begole brothers and their sister married and raised families in the wilderness of western New York State, after they fought in the War of 1812. Their children and grandchildren migrated west to Michigan, Kansas, Colorado and California. Among their descendants are: Michigan Governor Josiah Begole and his son, Myron Begole, who parlayed the family wagon business into the Buick and Chevrolet car companies; San Diego Founder William Augustus Begole; Ouray, Colorado Founder Augustus William Begole; Charles Dorrance Begole, the first Anglo to climb Mount Whitney; Denver Mayor George Davis Begole; Marquette, Michigan Mayor Fred Hurlburt Begole, and Borrego Springs, California archeologist, Robert Spencer Begole.

George Weeks' wife, Alice Zoe (Begole) Weeks, was a great-granddaughter of one of these five Begole brothers, Thomas Jefferson Begole. Zoe Begole was born July, 1884 in Chelsea, Washtenaw, Michigan, to George and Jennie Dora (Sargent) Begole.


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